Friday, April 18, 2008

McCain criticizes Bush's economic policies... sort of

It's nice to see McCain distance himself from Bush's shameful record of deficit-spending and say that he will cut spending, but will he? Some days, it's hard to believe that anyone can or will restore some semblance of sanity to our government's reckless fiscal policies. Also, I would like to hear less talk about cutting taxes and more talk about scrapping the current tax code completely in favor of a simpler, fairer alternative like a flat tax, but I suppose I shouldn't hold my breath on that one either.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Another great one from Hillary

In response to Obama's comment about bitter working class voters who "cling to guns or religion":
"Senator Obama's remarks were elitist and out of touch," she said, campaigning about an hour away in Indianapolis. "They are not reflective of the values and beliefs of Americans."
Yes, we can all be grateful that Hillary Clinton, of all people, is out there championing the values and beliefs of ordinary Americans against out-of-touch elitists.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Gas, oil prices at record highs

And they'll just continue to rise... and rise... and rise. My advice? Buy a hybrid. I am. Now is the perfect time to use the power of our wallets for a good cause. Our national addiction to oil is, among other things, a strategic weakness we can no longer afford. Preaching the need for energy independence and renewable energy isn't enough. We have to start putting our money where our mouths are. Now.
Another good resource is

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Was the American Revolution radical or conservative?

My friend Patrick, a.k.a. "The Local Crank," and I have had another stimulating discussion about whether the American Revolution was truly radical, as Gordon Wood claims in "The Radicalism of the American Revolution." Feel free to join in the fray by clicking here!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Mike Gravel joins Libertarian Party...

...thus ensuring that "the party of principle" continues to remain a joke in the eyes of most voters for years to come. What a pity. Our democracy could really benefit from a strong and viable third party, not to mention a fourth or fifth, but it seems fated never to be. When most people in the U.S. think of third parties, they will continue to associate them with such misfits as Lyndon LaRouche, Ross Perot, Ralph Nader and now Mike Gravel.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Quote of the Day

As the three remaining presidential candidates commemorated the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today, Hillary Clinton said she would like to create a cabinet-level position focused exclusively on ending poverty as we know it, someone to whom the president can look every single day and ask, "What have you done to end poverty in America?"
Yeeeeeah. I'm not even sure what to say about that. If she has anyone less than God in mind, she's probably wasting her time and our money. And even God has a pretty poor track record on this score, as far as I can tell.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

REVIEW: The Lexus and the Olive Tree

Yeah, I know, I'm about 7 years behind the power curve. But better late than never, right? Anyway, my main desire in finally reading this book was that I wanted to better understand the phenomenon we call "globalization." Personally, I have always liked the idea that the world is becoming more interconnected than ever, but my impression from conversations with others is that some Americans don't like globalization because they perceive it as a threat to their jobs and the environment, while others don't like it because they perceive it as a threat to American values and sovereignty.
On this second point, I don't think Americans need fear. Globalization, as Friedman explains it, is largely the export of American values (represented by the Lexus) to the rest of the world in ways that sometimes undermine the cultural sovereignty or values of other peoples (represented by the olive tree). On the first point, Friedman argues that 1) nations that seek to protect their jobs by erecting barriers against free trade will inevitably fall behind, and 2) globalization actually empowers environmentalists and other activists (including those who feel their cultures threatened by globalization) in ways that never existed before and which have already begun to make a positive difference across the globe.
Since globalization is here to stay, Friedman argues that critics are better off "plugging in" to the system and finding ways to use it to their advantage rather than resisting it. His arguments, as always, are both persuasive and ultimately positive. The world that is emerging under the new international system we call "globalization" is not without its threats and challenges, and even potential setbacks (particularly in the form of "angry super-empowered individuals" like Osama bin Laden), but ultimately it is one of enormous promise and potential. I encourage others to read this book and its follow-up "The World is Flat," which I hope to tackle soon!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Clinton and Obama on taxes

Making the tax code even more complex is not exactly the kind of "change" I want, but what the hell do I know. I'm sure John McCain will propose something far more sensible, but after all the years of opportunity George Bush and the Republicans had to finally do something useful about the tax code and didn't, it's hard to believe anyone will. Unless of course Libertarians win the White House and Congress and pigs start flying.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Russell Kirk on Conservatism

With all the hullabaloo in the news recently about John McCain not being "conservative" enough for some voters, it made me reflect once more on just how difficult it is to really define what it means to be a "conservative" these days. For most people, "conservative" is whatever the bulk of the Republican Party happens to believe at any given time. But the late, great Russell Kirk had a much more intelligent and eloquent take on conservatism that is worth reading (or re-reading, as the case might be) at length. Among other things, Kirk believed that:

  • Variety and diversity are the characteristics of a high civilization.
  • Power is full of danger; therefore the good state is one in which power is checked and balanced, restricted by sound constitutions and customs.
  • In the affairs of nations, the American conservative feels that his country ought to set an example to the world, but ought not to try to remake the world in its image.
  • Any public measure ought to be judged by its probable long-run consequences, not merely by temporary advantage or popularity. Liberals and radicals, the conservative says, are imprudent: for they dash at their objectives without giving much heed to the risk of new abuses worse than the evils they hope to sweep away..
Perhaps most significantly, Kirk believed "there exists no Model Conservative, and conservatism is the negation of ideology: it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order. The attitude we call conservatism is sustained by a body of sentiments, rather than by a system of ideological dogmata. It is almost true that a conservative may be defined as a person who thinks himself such. The conservative movement or body of opinion can accommodate a considerable diversity of views on a good many subjects, there being no Test Act or Thirty-Nine Articles of the conservative creed.".

Of course, Kirk's take on conservatism is only one of many, but it's much more compelling than anything offered by the Limbaughs and Coulters of the world.